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Beautiful and tranquil scenery reward those who venture to explore Goose Cove Reservation. Short trails through wooded upland, rocky shoreline, and along tidal mud flats provide an opportunity to study varied plant and animal life.
For a thousand years and more Indigenous People on Cape Ann enjoyed the ample and diverse resources to be found in the Goose Cove biome, from shellfish in the tidal flats and brackish backwaters to the deer that came to graze on saltmarsh hay. Algonquians known as the Pawtucket speared fish in this cove, which was open to the sea, gathered goldenrod flowers to flavor and color their porridges, used Spartina grasses in their basketry, and quarried the glacial moraine for stones to knap into weapons and tools.
A narrow causeway on Rt. 127 divides Goose Cove on the east from the Atlantic Ocean, the Annisquam River and Lobster Cove. Follow the trail to where upland meets salt water, creating a rich, natural habitat. The property’s geologic features include Cape Ann granite, glacial erratics, glacial outwash, and moraine.
In spring, shadbush and cherry trees bloom. In summer, the woodland vegetation grows thick, shading the trail. Inland find honeysuckle, juniper and goldenrod. Notice the coral lichen, gray birch and sweet fern. Spartina grasses blanket the salt marsh, and the well- adapted brown rockweed kelp is visible floating with the tide.
Deer and fisher hide along upland trails. Find otter tracks on the mudflats or their slide marks on the snow in winter. Magnificent shorebirds like yellowlegs, sandpipers and plovers grace the mud flats at low tide. In winter at high tide, look for waterfowl like bufflehead and common golden-eye diving for food.
Washington Street, Gloucester. (Opens in Google Maps)
Latitude 42.645415, Longitude -70.672363
From 128N/Grant Circle in Gloucester:
Take 3rd rotary exit onto Route 127 going north. Parking area entrance is 1.8 miles ahead on the right. (If you pass a small brick municipal building on the right, you have gone too far.)
Paddle Launch: Use the first trail on the left out of the parking area that leads to the water’s edge. Available 1-2 hours before and after high tide only. Paddle the cove or if currents allow, beyond the cove to the Annisquam River.
Parking is limited to 5 cars. Park in the gravel parking lot.
82 Eastern Avenue
PO Box 1026
Essex, MA 01929
Greenbelt thanks the photographers whose work is featured prominently on our website: Jerry Monkman, Dorothy Monnelly, Adrian Scholes, David Alden St. Pierre & Neil Ungerleider